This guy wasn’t the biggest gator at the farm, but he was hands down the most voracious, getting nearly 3/4 of his body out the water when lunging for food. He had the battle scars to show for it as well. The eye not shown was dead, missing the lid and loose in the cavity (yuck). In the last step of processing I decided to crop it out. It was downright nasty and just detracted from what I wanted to get out of this photograph. The farm is also only open from near mid-day to early afternoon, putting the sun bearing right on top of the gators in the water, making exposure a little tricky. Even though the highlights weren’t blown, there was no way of taking them down that didn’t look odd.
As for processing, I did the luminosity selecting/masking technique on this one. The biggest adjustment was on the midtones mask where I applied a really steep Z curve on the curve mask to darken and get more contrast. I then burn/dodged in select areas.